The Malba Gardens Civic Association is worried the city’s Department of Transportation may have forgotten a promise to study traffic conditions in the area after former Queens DOT commissioner Maura McCarthy’s departure.
Two years ago, the civic asked Fifth Avenue be converted to a west-bound one-way street from 150th Street to the Whitestone Expressway Service Road. A DOT survey found 107 cars traveled down the street per hour, with a third of them speeding. Most were drivers who got off at the final exit before the Whitestone Bridge, after accidentally getting snagged onto the approach for the span.
But an agreement was ironed out at a subsequent Community Board 7 meeting to revisit the issue after the bridge’s exit was closed for construction work.
Well, it’s been closed since the early spring, and Malba Gardens Civic President Alfredo Centola is worried about the silence coming from the Queens DOT.
“Our community needs to get this issue resolved before a tragedy occurs,” he wrote in a letter to current Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall. “There is a long documented history of this issue dating back to 1997.”
Centola said traffic in the area has dropped after the Third Avenue exit was closed.
A DOT spokesman said the agency had received and is reviewing the letter.
“There no longer sit derelict vehicles for weeks on end, there no longer are people utilizing our residential street as street mechanic shops,” Centola wrote in the letter. “There no longer is the onslaught of 107 cars per hour, there no longer is the onslaught of commercial vehicles getting off the 3rd avenue exit and utilizing our residential street as a conduit.”
The civic president said keeping the exit closed off for anyone other than emergency vehicles sounds like a sensible idea (it’s his).
But before that, he’s just hoping the DOT responds to his letter.